Best Front Bike Rack – Bikepacking and Touring Bikes

Finding the best front bike racks for your bike commuting or bike touring can be difficult, especially when you haven't figured everything that makes a front bike rack suitable and what qualities make it good. Luckily, we've got years of experience bike touring and know which front racks are the very best ones. 

If you don't know much about bike front racks, don't worry! We've written a detailed guide about them, covering everything you need to know before choosing one. But to save you some time, we've added the main points to take note of down below:

There are two kinds of front bike racks that you can buy: 

They are the standard front rack or a low rider front rack

Standard front racks mount above the wheel and are often referred to as top mount front racks. Most of them feature side rails for panniers, but quite a number don't. Low rider racks, on the other hand, sit a bit lower down on the bike's fork and most times don't have a top rack. They are more preferred when bike touring as they sit the weight lower down on the bike. This placement allows low rider racks to offer a much better ride and doesn't hamper your ability to maneuver the bike.

When looking for front bike racks, it's always good to know what type of items you plan to carry and the use case you have for them. So, if you plan to commute around town or make quick grocery runs, you'll only need a standard front rack. However, if you plan to go bike touring, having a low rider front rack will provide a more comfortable ride. 

Both types of front racks may allow you to attach panniers on them, with the only difference stemming from their distribution of weight. Either way, this list of front touring racks has all the best options that are worth checking out.

Best Front Bike Racks: 

  1. Thule Pack 'N Pedal Tour Front Rack 
  2. SUNLITE Gold Tec Front Rack, 26"/700c
  3. Origin8 Classique Cargo HD Front Rack
  4. Axiom Journey Suspension and Disc Low-rider, Black
  5. Tubus Cycle Rack's Tara Lowrider

Front Bike Rack Reviews

Let's look at each rack and its pros and cons:

Thule Pack 'N Pedal Tour Front Rack

Thule Pack 'n Pedal Tour Rack

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One of the best front bike touring racks to consider is the Thule Pack 'N Pedal. This front bike rack doesn't require any complicated installation and can fit either the front of the bike or the back. It attaches to the front forks or seat stays easily. Plus, it offers excellent tire clearance that you can adjust up to 29" x 2.5".

This front rack is very sturdy and can support a load capacity up to 22 lbs on the front and up to 25 pounds on the rear. It also includes a slot to mount a rear reflector to make sure you are visible while cycling in the dark. 

You can get this front bike rack and install it on just about any type of bike and frame material. So if you want a versatile and sturdy rack, this is a good option. 

Pros

  • Very Easy to install front bike rack
  • Offers good clearance adjustment
  • It can be installed on both the front and back of the bike.
  • It is very sturdy and doesn't rattle even on the roughest trails.

Cons

  • It only comes in one silver color. 

SUNLITE Gold Tec Front Rack

Sunlite Gold Tec Front Rack, 26"/700c

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The SUNLITE Gold Tec is one of the most affordable front racks you can find to buy online. It is very sturdy thanks to the tubular alloy build and can carry up to 40 lbs of weight. However, this front bike rack requires fork bosses to mount it, so if your bike doesn't have them, you might want to look elsewhere unless you know how to improvise. 

This front bike rack also doesn't support carrying pannier bags. But since it's so cheap, we can ignore most of that. Overall, it's a high-quality rack for persons that just want to add a rack for commutes with a few items. 

Pros

  • These front racks come in two colors Black and Silver.
  • This rack is the most affordable front bike rack you will find. 
  • It has a high load capacity of 40 pounds.

Cons

  • You need fork bosses on the bike to use them.

Origin8 Classique Cargo HD Front Rack Review

Origin8 Rush Messenger Front Basket Rack, 26-29", Black

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If you want the best front bicycle rack to haul plenty of groceries or across the city, this rack is the one. It features a large top platform that measures 12" x 14.5" and can fit a large bike basket or crate. If you absolutely have no need for panniers, you'll find no better rack than the Origin8 Classique. 

See more: The Best Bike Basket for Your Needs

It features a heavy-duty build that can support loads of up to 55 pounds, which is plenty for groceries and other regular items. Moreover, it will fit quite a number of bike frames, and it is very easy to install to the front axle and caliper holes. The bike rack fits best on 26", 27", 29" or 700C frames, but it isn't compatible with thru-axles.

Pros

  • It has a high weight capacity. 
  • This rack will fit most bike frames. 
  • It is rust-resistant and sturdy. 
  • Origin8 offers one of the largest platforms of any front bike rack online. 

Cons

  • It won't work with bikes that have thru-axles.

Axiom Journey Suspension and Disc Low-rider Rack

Axiom Journey Suspension and Disc Low-rider, Black

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Are you planning to do some serious bike touring? This bike rack is the one for you in that case. 

We always recommend that you avoid platform racks most of the time when it comes to touring as they make it a little more challenging to ride. And if you aren't a pro bike touring expert, you won't love having that issue while touring. But you do get used to the feeling over time so you can still get a front platform rack. 

However, if you want the best experience while touring, getting a low rider bike rack is the best option. The Axiom Journey bike rack is one of the highest-rated low riders available online. It fits most bike frames, even ones with suspension forks and disk brakes. Moreover, it is very easy to install.

The Axiom Journey front low rider rack is built sturdily and supports 40 lbs of total weight (20 on each side). For front racks, that amount of weight capacity is more than enough as you don't want too much load at the front. Overall, this bike rack is an excellent option. 

Pros

  • It is a very high-quality, low rider front rack. 
  • This rack is very affordable.
  • It will fit suspension forks and even bikes with disc brakes. 
  • This will fit on bikes with forks up to 42mm.

Cons

  • It is best for bikes with QR skewers and might not work for bikes without them.

Tubus Cycle Rack's Tara Lowrider Review

Tubus Cycle Rack's Tara Lowrider

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The Tubus Tara front rack is another perfect low rider bicycle rack that will allow you to add panniers to your bike. It requires your bike to have eyelets but is easy to install. The Tara front touring rack offers excellent durability and can hold up to 33 lbs. 

This front pannier rack will work on bikes with 26" wheels, however, keep in mind that it won't work on spring or carbon frames that don't have the eyelets. If you've got a bike with disc brakes, you can still use this rack.

Overall, the Tubus Tara has been around for a while and is rated highly by cyclists worldwide. As such, we think it's worth considering if you are looking for a low rider pannier rack.

Pros

  • High Load capacity
  • It will work on most 26" frames as long as it has eyelets.
  • These front racks are built to last and haul items for years. 

Cons

  • Won't work on carbon or suspension forks with no eyelets. 

Bottom Line

Front bike racks are a great addition to any bike, but you should consider what type of items you need to carry on them before buying one. We've covered this briefly earlier, but it is one of the essential points to remember. With that, we always recommend low riders for bike touring and panniers. For commuting with groceries and a small number of items, get a platform rack. 

Our top recommendation for front rack falls on the Thule Pack n Pedal. For the cheapest bike rack option, go with the SUNLITE Gold Tec Front Rack. If you need a lowrider pannier rack, our favorite is the Axiom Journey.

We hope you've found the best front bike rack for your bike. Join the discussion below and let us know how you liked them!

FAQ

Best Front Bike Rack

What Are The Best Front Bike Racks For Bikepacking And Touring Bikes?

I believe that some of the best front bike racks for bikepacking and touring bikes include the Thule Pack 'N Pedal Tour Front Rack, the SUNLITE Gold Tec Front Rack, and the Origin8 Classique Cargo HD Front Rack. These racks are known for their durability, versatility, and ability to carry heavy loads.

How Do I Choose The Best Front Pannier Rack For My Touring Bike?

In my experience, I have found that the best front pannier rack for touring bikes is one that is sturdy, has a good load capacity, and is compatible with your bike's frame and fork. It's also important to consider the size of the panniers you will be using and the type of terrain you will be riding on.

What Are The Advantages Of Using A Front Bike Rack For Touring?

I've noticed that using a front bike rack for touring has several advantages. First, it allows you to carry more gear, which is essential for longer trips. Second, it can help to distribute the weight of your gear more evenly across the bike, which can improve stability and handling. Finally, a front bike rack can provide a more comfortable ride by lowering the center of gravity of your bike.

Can I Use A Front Bike Rack With Disc Brakes?

Yes, you can use a front bike rack with disc brakes. In fact, many front bike racks are designed to be compatible with both disc and rim brakes. However, it's always a good idea to check the manufacturer's recommendations to ensure that the bike rack is compatible with your particular braking system.

What Are The Best Front Racks For Bikes With Suspension Forks?

If you have a bike with a suspension fork, you may want to consider a front rack that is designed specifically for use with suspension forks. I recommend the Axiom Journey Suspension and Disc Low-rider and the Tubus Cycle Rack's Tara Lowrider. These racks are designed to work with bikes that have suspension forks and can help to distribute the load more evenly, resulting in a more comfortable ride.

What Are The Best Front Bike Racks For Touring Bikes With Different Wheel Sizes?

Some front racks are designed for use with specific wheel sizes, such as 26" or 700c, while others are more versatile and can be used with a range of wheel sizes. The Surly Touring bike rack is a good option for bikes with larger wheel sizes, while the Thule Pack 'N Pedal Tour Front Rack is suitable for use with a variety of wheel sizes.

How Do I Mount Panniers On A Front Bike Rack?

To mount panniers on a front bike rack, use clips or straps to attach the panniers to the bike rack. Some racks may have dedicated mounting points or hooks for panniers. Follow the manufacturer's instructions for proper setup and periodically check the tightness of the pannier clips or straps. Distribute the weight evenly across both sides of the rack to maintain balance.

Are There Front Bike Racks That Are Suitable For Use On Gravel Bikes?

There are front bike racks that work well for gravel bikes. The Surly Touring bike rack is a good option because it is designed to be used on rough terrain and can support heavy loads. Another option to consider is the Thule Pack 'N Pedal Tour Front Rack, which also works well for gravel bikes and offers good tire clearance.

What Are The Best Front Racks For Bikes That Already Have Rear Racks?

If your bike already has a rear rack, you may want to consider a front rack that is designed to be used in conjunction with a rear rack. The Thule Pack 'N Pedal Tour Front Rack is a good option for this type of bike, as it can be used on the front or the back of the bike and can support a good load capacity. 

Can I Use A Front Bike Rack On A Bike With A Suspension Fork?

Yes, you can use a front bike rack on a bike with a suspension fork. However, it's important to choose a rack that is designed to be used with suspension forks to ensure that it is compatible with your bike. 

Are There Any Front Bike Racks With A Flat Platform For Carrying Large Items?

Yes, there are front bike racks with a flat platform that can be used to carry large items. One option to consider is the Origin8 Classique Cargo HD Front Rack, which features a large, flat platform that is ideal for carrying larger items such as boxes or bags. Another option is the Thule Pack 'N Pedal Tour Front Rack, which also has a flat platform that can be used to carry larger items.

Are Lowrider Front Racks A Good Choice For Bike Touring?

Lowrider front racks can be a good choice for bike touring as they help to distribute the weight of your gear lower down on the bike, which can provide a more comfortable ride. These racks are also generally more stable and easier to handle than standard front racks.

How Do I Mount A Front Fork Bike Rack On My Touring Bike?

In general, a front fork bike rack for touring bikes can be mounted using braze-ons (threaded mounting points on the bike's frame) or by attaching them to the front fork of the bike. Some racks may require additional mounting hardware, such as brackets or clamps, to secure them in place. It's important to carefully follow the manufacturer's instructions when mounting a front rack to ensure that it is properly secured and will not come loose during use.

Last Updated on January 6, 2023 by Daniel White